Osama, where art thou! | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Osama, where art thou!

The dogged pursuit of the terrorist makes for a suspenseful albeit over-simplified tale

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Poor Maya. The waking life of the pretty CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty is spent obsessing over one thing and nothing else: hunting down that bearded piece of work dubbed by military-speak as "UBL". Usama Bin Laden is Maya's Holy Grail, her lifetime achievement, her addiction, her soulmate. If Maya were an actress, the terrorist would be her Oscar. And given that we all know what happened 20 months ago in that house in Pakistan _ the UBL assassination is re-enacted here with the thrilling, goggle-eyed, sometimes first-person video-game aesthetics _ history and headlines have already put on the spoiler alert for the world audience: Maya wins, big time. She's got her metaphorical Oscar, and fittingly, she's shocked and awed and even breaks down after the trophy (the corpse) has been brought to her. 

Zero Dark Thirty
Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

There's hardly a dull moment in Zero Dark Thirty. Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar hopeful, from the script by Mark Boal _ they collborated on the superior The Hurt Locker _ is a skin-tight, effective procedural with a maddening focus on the CIA's decade-long manhunt of the elusive bin Laden. At the centre of everything, at least according to this "based on true accounts" story, is Maya. In a "black site", she starts off by watching her colleague torture an al Qaeda low-rank, a scene that has set Congress flustering, and grows to become a ferocious bloodhound hell-bent on doing anything _ shouting at her boss and threatening more advanced interrogation _ to find the whereabouts of bin Laden.

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